Staged readings are such an interesting phenomenon. I've done a few of them this year and they've ranged from big staged affairs to small intimate gatherings, and they've all been great learning experiences. It's almost like watching a rehearsal, because all of the actors still have their scripts in hand and the movement about the stage is very simple. In some cases, its even done with the actors seated at a table like a board meeting. But it all comes down to simply telling the story, or singing it in musical cases, so that the audience/directors/producers can get an idea of how the piece might work.
In most cases, rehearsal time before a staged reading can be very limited, which was the case with the piece I performed in last night: a new musical called Vienna. This was quite an undertaking because Vienna is a huge ensemble piece a la Ragtime or even Into the Woods. But we all met when we could and the director patiently rehearsed around everyone's scheduling conflicts. After a total of 10 hours in 2 days, the show was performed last night at the New Yiddish Rep Theater in the East Village.
There is something so artsy and timeless about the East Village. You can go from grafitti-land to tree-lined streets to skyscraperville... It was one of the first places I ran around when I first moved to New York, and I daresay its that way for any artist! Just check out some of the buildings:So there I was last night in a synagogue in the East Village, singing about turn of the Century Vienna, surrounded by characters like Prince Rudolf, Hugo Wolf, Johann Strauss II, Anton Bruckner, Arthur Schnitzler, the great actress Sarah Berhardt, and "my husband" Sigmund Freud (played by the delightful Richard Binder), all embodied by tremendously talented actors. There was something almost transporting about it, and I think this musical has great potential. It's a work-in-progress, as are most pieces of art, and it was really cool to be a part of something that is still being shaped.